Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival 2011

Probably the most short-lived but the most quintessentially Korean event in the springtime is the blooming of the cherry blossom trees.  The cherry blossoms do not bring happy memories to the Korean people since they were brought over to Korea from Japan during Japan’s colonization here, but today most Koreans are able to celebrate the beautiful scenery they create for such a short period of time every year. The blooming begins in the south of Korea and works its way up to Seoul.  This year the blossoms were in full bloom in Jinhae from April 1st through April 10th.  They will be arriving in Seoul in the next couple weeks.  Fortunately, I had a school holiday on Friday so I decided to make the trek to Jinhae to see the infamous cherry blossom festival, which is known as the best in Korea. This was the first time for me to travel somewhere all by myself.  I was a little anxious, but mostly excited to get away from Seoul and have a couple days to relax alone. Getting there was easy besides the fact that I had to take a 5 A.M. train.  The KTX from Seoul to Jinhae takes about 3 hours.  There is one transfer stop in Changwon.  It costs almost $50 one-way.  It’s not the cheapest option, but definitely the most convenient.  As you approach Jinhae the train tracks are lined with cherry blossom trees.

View from the train

When you step out of the train station you can see the festival grounds straight ahead and you are immediately surrounded by cherry blossoms.  I arrived there bright and early so I had plenty of time to explore.  When I got there they were just setting up the tents with food and shopping.  I got acquainted with the festival grounds and after wandering around for a while I saw a cable car ride that takes you up to a tower looking over Jinhae.  I had read that this was a must-see and since it was early there were no crowds and I was able to get right on.  This was the perfect start to my day because I got to see a beautiful view of Jinhae and I had a birds’ eye view of the festival so I had a good sense of where everything was.  From the top I could see everything from the naval academy on the coastline to the mountains lined with cherry blossoms.

Panoramic View

This was where I began my quest to see how many strangers I could ask to take my picture.  One of the downfalls of traveling alone….Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) for me I was the only foreigner for miles so the Koreans were excited to take my picture, in fact most of them wanted to take a picture of me with their own cameras.  I still find it amazing how many Koreans, young and old, have still never seen a foreigner.  I realized I wasn’t in good old Seoul anymore.

Yeojwa Chon

After the cable car ride I walked around for the next six hours and found the infamous Yeojwa Stream, some beautiful parks, and some mountains as well.  One perk about traveling alone is that you can do what you want and go where you want without making too many pit stops.  I walked around aimlessly forever, got a little lost along the way, but found some cool spots including my own English school, “Jeniffer’s English Academy: Learning English in English”  What a concept!

Mountainside

Had to take a picture of this 🙂

After spending the night at a surprisingly nice motel, I used the last bit of my time in Jinhae to check out the Naval Academy and to walk around the town one last time.  I was definitely sad to leave because it was such a beautiful weekend all around, but I was looking forward to getting back to Seoul to see some familiar faces again.  This is definitely a must-see if you are in Korea during April.

Turtle Ship

 

At the Naval Academy with my new boyfriend 😉

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11 responses

  1. Hi Jenny

    what a brave soul to take that trip by yourself. What nice pictures and
    I only thought that happened in Washington. Yes sometimes it is good
    to do things alone and get more done. Like when I go shopping for clothes
    someone always wants you to look at something else and usually it is for
    them. Oh well such is life. Spring is finally springing up here. Little flowers
    are sprouting up. sure is good to see the sun after such a long winter.
    Take care, you look great in the pictures.
    Joan

  2. Hi Jen. Wish I could have accompanied you to Jinhae. The pics of you and also the cherry blossoms are just beautiful. Thanks for another great update. I had just been thinking about you and there you were in my in-box!

  3. Jen, The pictures are beautiful. I never had any desire to visit Korea but now I do. Watch out for those Navy guys – love ’em and leave ’em. We had the St. Paul Auction last night. I think it was another successful auction. It is crazy what some people will bid on. Mary Ann

  4. Hi, I found your blog through an online search- very interesting and I love the lists on the sidebar btw.

    I commented on teh exact post but I just wanted to say thanks for putting the information on the dance studio.

    How long will you be in seoul for?

    • Hi Christine. Thanks for the comments. I will be in Seoul until at least August 2011, but as of now I am planning on staying for one more year. If you need any more information about Korea or working in Korea please let me know and I will be happy to help you.

  5. Hey jennifer? im jeniffer in jinhae kkk nice to know this page? Haha one of my friends showed me this page ! I was so suprised to see it kkk. . My academy has just opened at ur picture! My academy opened in march ! I wanted to see u next destival next year 😉

  6. Hi, Jennifer.

    I am ces from the Philippines. i chanced upon your blog while researching about Jinhae’s flower festival. I will be in seoul this april and would like to visit Jinhae to see their cherry blossom trees. I will staying in hongdae. I’ve read here that you took the 5AM train from seoul.

    couple of questions how to get to Jinhae by public transport:
    1. What time did you arrive at seoul station to catch the 5AM train
    2. what time does the booth for KTX ticket opens? how did you get your ticket? did you get it online?
    3. ‘There is one transfer stop in Changwon’ – do you need to board another train for this transfer? do you need to buy another ticket for this transfer?

    Thanks in advance!
    Ces

  7. HI, Jennifer.

    your post is very helpful. I will be visiting seoul again this april and i would like to go to jinhae for the flower festival or at least see the cherry blossoms. I’ve been reading recommendations that visiting jinhae is a all worth it. I just have a couple of questions about to go to jinhae from seoul. I will be staying in hongdae and i’ve read here that you took the 5am train from seoul station straight to Jinhae via KTX.
    1. How early were you at the seoul station? What time do they usually open?
    2. how did you purchase your KTX ticket? Did you get it online?
    3. at the transfer stop in Changwon, do you need to change trains? and would it be a different cost?

    Thanks in advance
    Chickoy.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading my post. I’m glad you found it helpful. If I remember correctly, I arrived at Seoul station about 15-20 min before the train arrived to be safe. It’s best to get your train tickets online beforehand especially for big festivals because train tickets book fast. Here’s the link: http://www.korail.com/en/

      At the transfer stop you will need to change trains but it is no extra cost. Your train ticket price from Seoul- Jinhae will include the transfer.

  8. Hi, I am interested in going Jinhae too, I tried the link you’ve given, but after selection, I came to a page where they tell me to inquire via telephone.. how do we go about buying the tickets online?

    Is it difficult to navigate around to transfer to the next train at Changwon? Thanks~

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